Tag: Baen Books

Cruising the Ancient Mediterranean in a Modern Cruise Ship


Eric Flint’s Assiti Shards stories are alternate history series where people from the present are cast into the past by shards of time-shifting artwork striking the Earth. It started with “1632,” with a West Virginia small town transposed with space from Thirty Years War Germany. In 2017, a new branch of the series began. In “The Alexander Inheritance,” cruise ship Queen of the Sea gets sent back to the ancient Mediterranean, the year after Alexander the Great’s death.

“The Macedonian Hazard,” by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff, and Paula Goodlett continues Queen of the Sea’s ancient voyage. It follows the cruise ship’s adventures navigating the narrow waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the narrow minds of Seleucid leaders attempting to control pieces of Alexander the Great’s disintegrating empire.

The Queen of the Sea won uneasy neutrality in “The Alexander Inheritance,” becoming a floating embassy for the various civilizations ringing the Mediterranean. It hosts passengers from most, serving as a platform where they parley. It also crossed the Atlantic to establish a settlement on Trinidad, from which it extracts fuel to keep the ship going.

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So, some SJW Red Guard wanna-be has set his sights on one of the last publishers in the SF/Fantasy publishing business which still stands its ground on free speech, namely Jim Baen. The creep in question has started a Twitter and social media campaign to get them de-platformed. You can read about it in detail […]

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Being the Bad Guy for a Good Cause


Larry Correia is best known for hard-edged urban fantasy. His Monster Hunter and Hard Magic series involve lots of firearms and fantastic creatures.

“Gun Runner,” by Larry Correia and John Brown is hard science fiction, set in a distant future that has interstellar travel. Yet Correia stays true to form. It is hard-edged and involves lots of firearms and fantastic creatures.

Captain Nicholas Holloway owns Multipurpose Supply VehicleTar Heel, an interstellar cargo ship. He is a gun runner. He and his crew are not in it just for the money. They provide banned weapons to societies who need them to fight animals on their home planets or to battle crazies with better political connections to Earth Bloc bureaucrats.

A New World Battle in an Alternate Timeline


Eric Flint launched his Ring of Fire series in 2000 with his novel “1632.” Intended as a stand-alone novel, it tells the story of Grantville, a West Virginia town switched in time and place with an equal area of space in Thirty-Years War Germany. 1632 proved addictive to readers and writers. Flint wrote a sequel, inviting David Weber to collaborate. Readers ate it up. Flint then opened his playground to other writers, curating the results.  As of 2020 there are over 30 books in the series.

“1637: No Peace Beyond the Line,” by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon, is the latest addition to the series. It is a sequel to “1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies,” published in 2014.

“No Peace Beyond the Line” picks up where “Commander Cantrell” left off. Captain Eddie Cantrell is holding together a coalition made up of Germans, Dutch, Danes, Irish, and renegade English colonists. The English have defied their national government to remain in the New World. The Irish are members Wild Geese, Irish mercenaries estranged from English-occupied Ireland, formerly in the service of France. Led by the chief pretender to the Irish throne (held by King Charles of England) they are running a settlement in Trinidad, producing and exporting oil, with the cooperation of the local natives.

This Week’s Book Review: Stellaris


The Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop are a group who believe man can and must go to the stars. In 2016 the TVIW held a track on Homo Stellaris. Its task was to describe the foundations of a space-based society.

“Stellaris: People of the Stars,” edited by Les Johnson and Robert E. Hampson, is one of the fruits of that year’s workshop. It is a collection of non-fiction essays and science fiction stories about what it takes for humans to travel and live outside the Solar System.

Both non-fiction and fiction limit themselves to the possible based on today’s science. Extrapolation is permitted, especially in the life sciences. Faster-than-light travel and communications was excluded on the grounds that these cannot occur without some type of fundamental breakthrough in physics.

A New Addition to the “Black Tide Rising” Canon


John Ringo’s “Black Tide Rising” series posits a zombie apocalypse caused by a highly-contagious, genetically-engineered viral plague that destroys the upper brain functions and turns its victims into mindless cannibals. Ringo has since invited other authors to come and play in the highly-popular “Black Tide Rising” sandbox.

“At the End of the World,” by Charles E. Gannon is the latest entry in the “Black Tide Rising” series.  It follows nine teens on a summer senior year learning cruise when the plague breaks out. Told through the journal of Alvaro Casillas, one of the teens on the cruise, it follows their course through a nightmare world aboard Crosscurrent Voyager.

Crosscurrent Voyager is on a trip from the Galapagos to South Georgia Island in the Atlantic Ocean near Antarctica. Its captain, Alan Haskins, is a silent, gaunt Englishman. All the others on Crosscurrent Voyager are similarly outcasts. They have discipline problems, or are overlooked, bullied, and ignored by their peers. They are aboard because Crosscurrent Voyager was the sole remaining adventure cruise available.

A Noir Gumshoe in the Far Future


Major Bhaajan retired from the Skolian military and became a private detective, operating out of the City of Cries, the capitol city of the Skolian Empire, located on the planet Raylicon. She was raised in Undercity, a subterranean warren beneath the City of Cries. She is the go-to investigator for the House of Majda, who rules the Skolian Empire. They keep her on retainer.

In “The Vanished Seas”, by Catherine Asaro, a routine and boring assignment to observe reactions at a society party takes an unexpected turn. The woman hosting it, Mara Quida, vanishes during the party. Mara, the Vice President for Marketing and Sales at Scorpio Corporation,  was hosting the party to celebrate a major contract being won by Scorpio.

No one knows how Mara Quida disappeared. No one, including her husband Lukas, knows why she disappeared. Violence appears involved, but no one heard anything from the bedroom where Mara Quida swiftly and silently vanished away.

Janissaries Reaches a Satisfactory Conclusion


In 1979 Jerry Pournelle published Janissaries, a novel about a doomed troop of CIA mercenaries in Angola. About to be annihilated by a Cubans they are offered an escape: a one-way trip to the planet Tran. They and their leader, Rick Galloway, are expected to take over the planet and oversee production of a recreational drug that can be grown there every 600 years. Sequels followed in 1982 and 1987. Then, despite the third book ending with many unanswered questions, nothing.

Mamelukes, by Jerry Pournelle, Philip Pournelle, and David Weber, continues the series.

Jerry Pournelle made several announcements on his blog that he was continuing the series. As late as 2014, he announced 151,000 words had been written, and that only the final battle remained. Then he had a stroke. He never completed the book. Jerry Pournelle died in 2017.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review New cast of characters revives an old series By MARK LARDAS […]

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‘1636: The China Venture’ Delivers Another Great Adventure


Eric Flint’s standalone time-transposition novel “1632” proved so popular it metastasized into a series of some 30 novels and 12 collections of short stories.

The premise is a small town in West Virginia gets transposed in time and space with a similar volume from 17th century Thuringia in Germany. At the height of the Thirty Years War.

“1636: The China Venture” by Eric Flint and Iver P. Cooper is the series’ latest edition. In it, Granville (the town sent to the past) sends a mission to Ming China.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review ‘Monster Hunter Guardian’ a world where monsters exist By MARK LARDAS […]

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‘Noir Fatale’ a Collection of Short Stories Linked by Theme


Cherchez la femme — look for the woman. The phrase defines one sub-genre of noir mystery fiction.

Noir Fatale: The Dark Side of Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Larry Correia and Kacey Ezell, explore that sub-genre in science fiction and fantasy.

The book is an anthology, a collection of short stories linked by the theme. All are original, written for this collection. The authors are an all-star cast. Besides stories written by the two editors, Baen regulars David Weber, Griffin Barber, Sarah Hoyt, Mike Massa, and Robert Buettner contributed, as did Steve Diamond, Laurell Kaye Hamilton, Alistair Kimble, Patrick M. Tracy, Christopher L. Smith, and Michael Ferguson. Hickley Correia, Larry Correia’s daughter kicks in a story too. Its quality testifies to heredity rather than nepotism justifying its inclusion. It’s a marvelous short piece set in Tokyo incorporating Japanese mythology.

Book Review: All the Plagues of Hell


There are few better pure storytellers than Eric Flint and David Freer. Individually they’re entertaining. Together, the result is splendid. “All the Plagues of Hell,” by Eric Flint and David Freer is the latest novel in the Heirs of Alexandria fantasy series. Set in the middle of the 15th century, it’s alternate history. In this world magic works.

This book centers on Count Kazimierz Mindaug, a long-standing series villain. A Lithuanian nobleman, he fled Lithuania after a failed attempt to kill its leader, Duke Jagiellon (possessed by the demon Chernobog). Mindaug took shelter in Hungary serving the evil King Emeric of Hungary and Countess Elizabeth Barthody. Both were killed earlier in the series. Mindaug escaped, but their destruction left Mindaug with no protector against Chernobog, vengefully pursuing Mindaug.

He flees west, to realms protected by the Knights of the Holy Trinity. They destroy evil magicians and demons. They are hunting Mindaug. Regardless, realms protected by the Knight are safer for Mindaug than other territory, because they keep Chernobog out.

Book Review: ‘Uncompromising Honor’ Regains Focus of Early Books


David Weber started the Honor Harrington series in 1992 with On Basilisk Station. The series now contains 14 mainline novels, six anthologies, and 15 spinoff novels. Enormously popular, series books have occasionally threatened to become an unconscious parody of the series, through Weber ending each novel with a battle bigger and more destructive than the climactic battle of the previous book.

“Uncompromising Honor,” by David Weber, is the 14th and latest novel in the mainline of the series. Instead, it may be one of the series’ most original books since the first three.

During the series, Honor Harrington has grown from the junior captain of On Basilisk Station to the senior fleet commander of the Star Empire of Manticore. Manticore is on the galaxy’s outer fringe from the core human worlds of the Solarian League of which Earth is the capital. Manticore had been fighting with another frontier power, the Republic of Haven, until both nations discovered their war was triggered by the genetic slavers of the mysterious Mesa Alignment.

“Though Hell Should Bar the Way” a Vastly Entertaining Book


David Drake has been writing the Royal Cinnabar Navy (RCN) series of space opera novels for 20 years. “Though Hell Should Bar the Way,” by David Drake, is the series’ 12th novel. In it, Drake resets the series without replacing the main characters, injecting fresh life into an enjoyable space opera series.

In ways the novel is the standard RNC tale. Capt. Daniel Leary, hero of the RCN, and his partner, librarian (and spy) Adele Mundy, are sent to the back of the beyond to serve Cinnabar’s interests in an undercover activity. The pair face intrigues from political rivals within Cinnabar and Cinnabar’s chief interstellar rival, the totalitarian Alliance of Free Stars. Space and land battles result. Cinnabar’s enemies are defeated.

It is great stuff for those who like that brand of science fiction. For careless authors, series like this often fall into predictable repetition.

Book Review: Sins of Her Father


Capt. Catherine Blackwood is back. The captain was the central character in Mike Kupari’s space adventure Her Brother’s Keeper. Sins of Her Father brings Blackwood and her privateer spaceship into a new science fiction story.

Ithaca, a colony world, has been beset by inept revolutionaries for nearly a generation. After overthrowing the previous monarchy they have run the planet with staggering incompetence.

In desperation, they are turning to the Orlov Combine for assistance. The Orlov Combine is what you would get if you multiplied Soviet Russia by Nazi Germany. It treats its people like cattle, but it has promised, pinkie swear, it will respect Ithaca’s internal sovereignty if Ithaca joins.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Sunday. When it appears, I post the previous week’s review on Ricochet. Seawriter Book Review ‘The Right to Bear Arms’ highlights Dickson’s humorous touch Posted: Saturday, […]

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